Usually I don’t do much in the way of preparation and rely on my improvisation skills. But with the upcoming Mass Effect game I want to stray from my usual path. The Mass Effect computer game has a strong background setting and interesting characters, but also great visuals. To make good use of the game’s visuals I plan to rely on player handouts a lot. Why describe the interiors of the characters’ spaceship when you can show them images and a deckplan? Instead of describing what a NPC looks like you can easily provide them with an image. Being able to show the players maps of the planets they explore definitely helps with immersion into the game world and is fun. There’s also the added benefit that I finally can put tools like ProFantasy’s Campaign Cartographer 3 (plus the Cosmographer 3 addon) and Fractal Terrains to good use.
Today I had the idea to use TCG-like cards as handouts for my players. I could probably even create cards that not only include an image of the NPC/location/item/etc. but also include the game stats as well. While it would be possible to create such cards in a graphics or DTP program, I’ve decided to use the free Magic Set Creator. The MSE is pretty easy to use and is almost perfectly suited for what I had in mind. Here are a few cards I created earlier:
The first two cards are pretty simple. They provide the players with an image of the NPC or location respectively and a few lines of background information. The third card is an attempt to include all the stats needed to use the NPC in play. While I managed to squeeze everything onto the card, the result is not that great. But overall I like the idea of using TCG-style cards as player handouts. They are easily created and help to bring Mass Effect’s visuals to the gaming table.
What are your thoughts on my idea? Do you think it’s worth the effort? As always I am very interested in reading your comments. Feel free to post your ideas, criticism and advice in the comments below!